Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Stupid Guest Questions

My favorite stupid question came from a lovely lady from the Midwest. She walked up to me with her obese husband. When I say obese I mean this guy was huge.
            “Hi, can we go on the ride?”
            “Yes of course,” I told her, “right this way.”
            “No look at him!” she said motioning to his expansive waistline, “can he go on the ride?”
This was starting to get awkward because he was standing right there and could hear her. Clearly he has feelings because he eats them. So I told her:
            “Well ma’am to determine if someone is too short for the ride we have a height measuring stick but to see if someone is too fat for our ride we have a cast member come out and motorboat your husband. If that cast member is knocked unconscious by the force of your husband’s man-boobs then your husband is too large to ride Test Track.”
            My second favorite question was actually the same question but in a different context. A teenage girl walked up to me with her redneck boyfriend wanting to ride Test Track.
            “Hi, can I go on the ride.”
            “Sure, right this way. I don’t know why people keep asking me this.”
            “Well, I’m pregnant.”
            “In that case, this is a turbulent ride that may be unsafe for your unborn child. You should probably skip this one.” We aren’t allowed to stop them from going on—all we can do is warn them that it isn’t a wise decision. Right after I said this though her boyfriend just pulled her in line with these words of wisdom.
            “Come on baby, its fine. You’re just a little pregnant.”
            Seriously? Just a little pregnant? It’s logic like that that probably got them into that mess in the first place. “Come on baby, we don’t need condoms, we’re just going to have a little sex.”
            I’ve learned that if parents did their job as parents then my job would be a quite a bit easier and probably extremely boring so I am quite grateful that parents have no concept of how to take care of their children. It was nothing short of disturbing to see how many people tried to sneak their kids onto the ride when they were too short. The height requirements aren’t arbitrary, if the kid is too short the seatbelt will not fit the way it should. Our ride reaches a velocity of 65 mph at some points in the ride – in the event of an emergency we would stop the ride immediately. Going from sixty five miles per hour to zero in a few seconds won’t be fun with a seatbelt strap over your face.
            People had some creative ways of attempting to bring their kids onto the ride when they were too short. I’ve seen three year old girls in high heels and someone even tried stuffing ice cream bars in their kids’ shoes. First of all, that’s a waste of about fifteen dollars worth of Mickey Mouse ice cream, second of all that will melt pretty quickly and we double check heights at the beginning of the line and at the end so that is far from foolproof.
            It’s amazing how angry people become when I try and ensure the safety of their children. One woman walked up to the ride with a kid who looked entirely too short for the ride.
            “Ma’am, I need to double-check the height of your son.”
            “I just checked it.”
            “Great! Now, I’d like to check it. That’s why it’s called a ‘double-check’.”
As it turns out, the kid was three inches too short but naturally she can’t trust the measuring stick’s accuracy.
            “Come on, he is so close. Just let us on.” She pleaded. But I didn’t fancy losing my job that day so I couldn’t let him on. 

Saturday, December 22, 2012

Manager Magic

The hierarchy of ride operations in Disney World is like this- if the cast members are like a totem pole then think of college program cast members as the dirt that holds the totem pole up. Then full time cast members are the bottom of the totem pole, next step up are coordinators, and above them are managers. The first manager I interacted with, Harry, didn’t like me from the start, which is ridiculous because most people love me.
He decided that I was not exactly embodying the essence of the Disney look and asked me to shave. If you recall from earlier posts you’ll notice that meant I had to use one of the vending machine razors. As expected, I came out of the bathroom after shaving with copious amounts of blood oozing from my face. Once again I pose the question – what is going to offend a guest more – my five o’clock shadow or my bloody face wounds.
Harry was the oldest manager out of the ten managers that worked in my area of Epcot. As an elderly man he could have taken two different paths as the manager – the grandfatherly nice old man path or the iron-fisted dictator path. Guess which one he chose. His modus operandi was to creep around the ride trying to catch people straying from the very specific path Disney policy laid out for their cast members and hoping he could reprimand them for it.
One time I saw him hiding in a bush watching me and another cast member when we were greeting in front of the ride. I kid you not he was literally behind a bush staring at us. I pointed him out to the other cast member and when Harry saw us looking at him he started brushing leaves off of the bush that had fallen from the tree above it. Come on, Harry, it’s a bush- it’s made of leaves; we know you aren’t cleaning the leaves off of it.
I loved working in the front of the ride. It was sunny and warm outside, I could talk to guests, spread Disney magic, you know, the usual. The best way I like to make a little Disney magic is to bring a family through the exit of Test Track and get them right onto the ride so they don’t have to wait in the line. My friends at work said that I was too picky and critical when trying to find a family. They always tried to give me suggestions but I didn’t like to take just any family. All I wanted was a cute family of four all wearing University of Georgia shirts and one of them wearing a birthday pin. Is that really too much to ask for? I didn’t think so either.
 I did this magical moment for a group of women and they were so excited they took pictures with me and then one of them shook my hand.  When I pulled my hand away there was a ten dollar bill in it. Accepting tips is a major Disney faux pas and at that moment I saw my job flash before my eyes. I threw it back at her and told her I couldn’t take it. Then I glanced around fully expecting Harry to emerge from the closest bush informing me that I was fired. The proper procedure to follow if a guest insisted on giving you a tip was to place it in an envelope and turn it in to your manager. A guest gave me a piece of bubble gum once and I almost put it in an envelope to turn into Harry just to be a smartass but ultimately decided against it because he would probably find some way to fire me for it. 

Thursday, October 25, 2012

Flashback Post- Dondled!

I decided this would be a good time for a flashback post- this is one of my favorite stories about a trip to Disney World but it happened before I was working there                                                           -------------------- Beginning of Flashback ----------------------------------------
For my 21st birthday I went to Disney World with some friends. Our plan was to drink around the world in Epcot. This is a very special birthday tradition where you walk around the world showcase in Epcot and get a drink from each of the eleven countries. At least that was the plan- in reality we found out doing this would be about a hundred dollars per person and that’s if you skip Canada. We just got the one drink and walked around the world with that – it still counts.
It was a fun trip but one of my friends was not having good luck with her boobs. To start off the trip, in Epcot she got Dondled. That's what it’s called when Donald Duck fondles you inappropriately while taking a picture with him. Then, when you ride a rollercoaster in Disney World your picture is taken at the scariest part of the ride. We learned that they have a cast member monitoring the pictures and if they perceive that the picture is inappropriate they delete it.
We were looking at our picture from the Dinosaur ride in Animal Kingdom and after five seconds they took it down and replaced it with a picture of an empty rollercoaster car. Those five seconds supplied us with ample time to notice that the way our friend was clutching onto her boyfriend’s arm created cleavage literally from her neck to her belly button. She claimed it was a trick of the camera that created her porn star cleavage. I've heard the camera can add ten pounds I just hadn’t heard that it all goes to your chest. I think it was simply the magic of Disney… but that’s just my opinion.
It sounds like a funny story at first but it really ends up being sad because now the little boy in the row behind us will never get the picture from his first rollercoaster ride. But his creepy dad will have it forever.
After that she became really paranoid and thought that anytime a stranger glanced in her direction it was due to the fact that they recognized her from the Dinosaur ride. I suggested that she should offer to sign autographs in the autograph book that everyone carries around to have characters sign. She suggested that I shut up.
------------------------------End of Flashback--------------------------------

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Really another post about Dispatch? Yes. Another one.

I did enjoy playing mind games with guests when I was at Dispatch. My favorite question people would ask me is if the ride is scary or if it goes upside down. You are already on the ride; shouldn’t you have considered this earlier? I love to tell them “don’t worry, it doesn’t go upside down… but we did add a Tower-of-Terror-like-drop in the middle” and then press the button to send them on with a smile and a wave while they look absolutely terrified.  Another fun thing to do—the middle seatbelt only has a strap around the waist so when they would ask if they need a shoulder strap in the middle seat I would say “Oh God, you don’t have one?!?!” Then send the car into the ride before they have a chance to respond. 
but I really don’t understand why people just stare at me when I am shouting safety instructions at them. Usually when families just stare at me with that glassy-eyed expression it means they are from another country so I would switch languages and start giving the instructions in Spanish.
            “Pull on the yellow strap, please!” I said politely to the family in front of me. They stared at me as if they didn’t understand
            “Jalla la cinta amarilla, por favor!” I repeated in Spanish politely.
            “We are Americans, we speak English,” the woman in the car responded.
            “I beg to differ, ma’am, because if you had a strong grasp of the English language you would understand what ‘pull on the yellow strap’ means.”
One day at Dispatch everything went wrong. It was the worst and most hilarious hour I spent at that position. Almost everyone in the first car that came up to me pulled on the yellow strap—except for one guy in the front seat farthest from me. He was looking in the other direction, not paying attention to anything. I tried to get his attention.
“Sir.”  No response.
“Excuse me, sir!”
After the third time I said “sir” getting louder and more insistent each time he turned towards me with an angry look on his face. That is when I noticed that he had breasts. That’s also when I noticed that it was not a man but in fact an angry masculine woman. It should be noted that I can only attest to the angriness at that moment, when no one is calling her sir she may very well be a perfectly amicable woman. I made eye contact with her said “oops” and just sent the car into the ride. 

A few minutes later, I noticed on the light sensors that two people didn’t have their seatbelts buckled so I stopped the car. An extremely large man and an even larger woman were sitting next to each other, which initially made me laugh, until they asked me to help them buckle their seatbelts. That quelled my laughter very quickly.
“Sorry, but can you help us.” The man said to me.
“We just can’t seem to find the seatbelt buckle,” the woman said apologetically.
“Um…” I respond, stalling for time.
I ended up having to help them. While wading through fat rolls to get to the seatbelts I realized that Karma is a bitch- apparently quite a large bitch. My hobby of putting fat people in the cars together when I was Grouping them was coming back to haunt me.